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Phelps files for Senate District 1

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By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Friday, March 2, 2018

There will be a Democratic primary for the newly drawn Senate District 1 that includes all area counties.

Washington County Commissioner D. Cole Phelps, 29, filed for the seat on Wednesday, the last day of filing. Phelps' entry into the race follows the filing of Hertford County businessman Richard “Steve” James on Tuesday.

Phelps could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday, but gave several statements in a press release issued by the N.C. Senate Democratic Caucus.

“I am honored to announce my candidacy for the North Carolina Senate,” Phelps states in the release. “Too often, North Carolinians east of I-95 are forgotten. Northeastern North Carolina deserves a representative who is familiar with the needs of our community and will fight for them.”

Phelps' candidacy is inconsistent with a statement he gave on Nov. 8 in which he withdrew his interest in running for the seat in newly drawn House District 1.

“While I would like to broaden my reach across eastern North Carolina, it is more important right now for me to complete a few more of the projects I set out to accomplish for the residents of Washington County,” he said then in not seeking that legislative office.

In the N.C. Senate Democratic Caucus press release, Phelps states he “believes the General Assembly has failed to do enough for northeastern North Carolina,” and, if elected, plans to fight for economic development, small business owners, infrastructure and education.

Phelps also criticized cuts to education that he said have increased class sizes, citing his experience as an instructor at East Carolina University.

The release also notes that Phelps was “born and raised” in Creswell, and graduated from ECU in 2009 and from the N.C. Central University School of Law in 2013.

The winner of the Democratic contest will face either state Rep. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan, or Clark Twiddy, a Republican businessman from Dare, who declared their candidacies for the seat months ahead of either Democrat. The winners of each party's May 8 primary will then face voters in the November general election.

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